You put a lot of thought, research, effort (not to mention money) into kitting out your UTV. However, when it needs to be towed, most people aren’t prepared. Keeping it safe during the ride requires the right tools and care. If you know a thing or two about safe UTV towing, you’re shocked at the tow habits rampant on the highways. Many times, it’s not just harmful to the UTV, but downright illegal and hazardous to everyone on the road.
No matter what UTV you have, its weight isn’t enough to stay on a trailer if you have to slam on the brakes or veer into another lane with short notice. Many people don’t even tie down their UTVs, leaving them precariously balanced on a trailer. One of the best investments you can make is a D-ring—they’re cheap, can be found anywhere and give you bonus hook points for your trailer. Weld them just about anywhere as placeholders for straps.
One of your best accessories is already at your fingertips: The parking brake. Always engage it when towing, for added security. A ratcheting strap is a must for heavier UTVs that have a knack for loosening on a trailer. The bigger the UTV, the bigger the requisite strap. You should also have a number of other straps of varying sizes, crossing them over one another to maximize stability.
Nothing compares to a solid inspection before every use of your UTV, thus avoiding unnecessary tows. Also keep your trailer in good condition, ensuring that the trailer brakes are top notch and the electrical system (if applicable) is working. Keep breakaway chains hooked to the trailer with a tow hitch—these chains, when hooked up, can keep trailers aligned until you can stop the vehicle and re-hook the trailer. And don’t forget about those tires.
The tires of the trailer should also have good tread and be rot-free. Ensure the lighting is a bright LED and that you follow your state’s regulations. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules vary by state and can change, so know where you stand. However, most states require working taillights on a trailer, a license plate light, safety chains on board, brake lights and clearance lights.
Working turn signals, reflectors and breakaway chains may be required and are always a good idea. Also keep flares and tie-downs are handy in case of an emergency. If possible, remove your UTV’s windshield and store it separately for towing. It might be one tough cookie, but who knows what debris you’ll encounter on the highway.
Photo Credit: ATV.com